Mendiola dispersal reminiscent of GMA’s CPR, Release the detained students – Karapatan

Condemning the violent dispersal at Mendiola yesterday, human rights group Karapatan called for the release of five protesters who were arrested without charges.

“The Aquino government’s attempt to quell legitimate protests is terribly juvenile and is a classic act of baring the fangs of a repressive regime upon the youth. It is ironic because the nation, including the government, is commemorating the International Human Rights Day,” Karapatan deputy secretary general Jigs Clamor said. 

The group said the police dispersal in past two days was starkly reminiscent of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR) in 2006, which also barred protests at historic Mendiola, now Chino Roces bridge.  

“The people have all the right to protest especially if their very basic rights are trampled upon. The ‘Occupy Mendiola’ protests only showed that youth and students are disgruntled under P-Noy because of budget cuts in education and the increasing commercialization of education. Many Filipino families can no longer send their children to school,” said Clamor. 

The PNP today said it will file charges of sedition, illegal assembly, malicious mischief and physical injuries to the arrested students and leaders of the protests. Arrested students were identified as Jed Aquino, Nathaniel Aguilar, Rodel Valenzuela, Karl Michael Nadunza, Robert Monte and Christopher Pasion, national secretary general of College Editors Guild of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, some 43 protesters were reportedly injured, many of them suffering severe blows in the head and on the face. One protester was allegedly hit in his private parts several times.

Clamor commented that, “It is ridiculous that these things are happening while the government celebrates the International Human Rights Day with the slogan ‘End Impunity: Make Human Rights our Way of Life.’ The act of the government clearly shows how it lives by slogans and not by deeds.”

Karapatan called on the international community, including international human rights organizations, to condemn the violent dispersal and remain vigilant on the continuing violations on the right to peaceful assembly and to free speech and expression. 

The protesters will continue to stand their ground today in front of Bustillos Church, where they will hold a Mass at noontime. ###


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